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Thread: Governance: RCI on Illegal Immigrants

   
   
       
  1. #1
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    Governance: RCI on Illegal Immigrants

    When was this RCI launched?

    Who is the Head?

    What are the objectives?

    1. The Federal Government has set up a Commission of Inquiry under the Commissions of Inquiry Act 1950 (Act 119). The Commission was established to investigate the issues raised in relation to illegal immigrants in Sabah. The Commission shall complete its investigation within six (6) months from 21 September 2012 being the date of establishment of the Commission and the report will be presented to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.

    2. Members of Commission

    Chairman :

    1. YBhg. Tan Sri Datuk Amar Steve Shim Lip Kiong;


    Members of Commission:-

    2. YBhg. Prof. Datuk Seri Panglima Dr. Kamaruzaman Hj. Ampon;
    3. YBhg. Datuk Henry Chin Poy Wu;
    4. YBhg. Datuk Kee Mustafa; and
    5. YBhg. Tan Sri Datuk Seri Panglima Herman J. Luping,

    Commission Secretary:
    6. YBhg. Dato' Saripuddin Kasim

    3. Terms Of Reference


    1. To enquire into the number of immigrants in Sabah who have been issued blue identification cards or citizenship;
    2. To enquire whether the issuance of blue identification cards or citizenship to immigrants in Sabah is in accordance with the law;
    3. To enquire whether the immigrants in Sabah who hold blue identification cards, temporary identification receipts (blue) or citizenship which is not in accordance with the law have been registered in the electoral roll;
    4. To enquire whether the respective authorities have taken any action or made any improvement to the standard operating procedures, rules and regulations to prevent any irregularity in law;
    5. To enquire further into the standard operating procedures, rules and regulations in relation to the issuance of blue identification card or citizenship to immigrants in Sabah by taking into consideration the international standards and norms applicable to Malaysia, and to recommend any amendment or change to strengthen and improve the standard operating procedures, rules and regulations;
    6. To enquire into the reasons for the increase in the population of Sabah in accordance with the following categories:
      1. the people of Sabah who reside in Sabah, including those who were issued blue identification cards and citizenship through Birth Certificate (Late Registration);
      2. foreign workers (including family members);
      3. illegal immigrants (including family members); and
      4. refugees,


    and to scrutinise its effect on the number of those registered in the electoral roll;

    1. To enquire into the social implications to the community in Sabah resulting from the issuance of blue identification cards or citizenship to immigrants in Sabah; and
    2. to enquire into the number of immigrants in Sabah who were issued blue identification cards or citizenship by taking into consideration their status as stateless persons.


    4. Proceedings dates


    1st proceedings: 14 - 18 Jan 2013
    2nd proceedings: 29 - 31 Jan 2013, 1 Feb 2013
    3rd Proceedings: 22 - 27 Feb 2013

    Venue: Federal Court, Kota Kinabalu Court Complex
    Time: Monday - Thursday (9.30am - 12.30pm & 2.00pm - 5.00pm) Friday (9.30am - 12.00pm & 2pm - 5.00pm)

    The website for the RCI
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    73,000 refugees granted entry into Sabah in the 1970s, RCI told



    By Clara Chooi
    Assistant News Editor

    January 14, 2013
    A view of illegal houses built on the sea front in Kota Kinabalu. The Telipok and Kinarut refugee settlements are located in the state capital. — File pic


    KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 14 — The Sabah Berjaya government had in the 1970s permitted some 73,000 Filipino refugees to settle permanently in the state provided they were Muslims or were genuinely “displaced persons”, the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on illegal immigrants was told in Kota Kinabalu today.
    The group, who arrived in Malaysia between 1970 and 1984, was given conditions to qualify for their migration — that they must hail from Western Mindanao and intend to stay permanently in the east Malaysian state.

    According to the Chief Minister’s Department’s Settlement Unit head Abdul Jaafar Alip, who was testifying at the first day’s hearing of the RCI, the refugees need not necessarily be Muslims to reside here, but they must be genuine refugees escaping the conflict in the southern Philippines at the time.

    “We accept people of any religion to be displaced people,” he told the RCI, according to Malaysiakini today.

    He added that five refugee settlements were established since then — the Telipok and Kinarut settlements in Kota Kinabalu, the state’s capital, Kampung Bahagia in Sandakan, Kampung Selamat in Sempoerna and the Hidayah settlement in Tawau.

    The Malaysian Insider reported last August that these refugees were later issued the IMM13 documents, a special immigration pass that allows refugees registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) freedom of movement and employment here.

    According to Abdul Jaafar, the third witness to testify today, the refugees were also given a special identity card that is not recognised by the National Registration Department (NRD).

    But the officer added that the resettlement scheme was suspended in 1985 following the shift in state government from Berjaya to Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS).

    Under the PBS administration, Abdul Jaafar said a statewide census was conducted to identify the number of refugees in the settlement who were later issued another document called the “temporary registration card”.

    But the document was also not recognised by the NRD as an identity card.

    The RCI hearing will go on until January 18 and resume from January 28 to February 1, February 22 to 27.
    Simon Sipaun wrote last year that Malaysians living in Sabah feel threatened and insecure as the number of foreigners keeps increasing. — Picture courtesy of malaysiansmustknowthetruth.blogspot.com

    The issue of illegal immigrants has long turned emotive among Sabah natives like the Kadazandusun and Murut (KDM) communities, many of whom feel that the state’s sovereignty has been stolen through the continued influx of foreigners from countries like the Philippines and Indonesia.It is no secret that Sabahans are angry and want these foreigners shipped back to their home countries in one way or another. They also often blame the group for robbing them of job opportunities and for the rise in the state’s social, economic and security problems.

    “Understandably, Malaysians living in Sabah feel threatened and insecure as the number of foreigners keeps increasing. Incidents of drug-related crimes, burglaries and robberies are common,” former Sabah state secretary Tan Sri Simon Sipaun once wrote in his June 18 article on Sabahkini last year.

    “Gone are the days when we could leave our houses unlocked. Now they are like prisons. Things can only get worse if the demand for jobs is not met by employment opportunities,” he added.

    The anger among Sabahans has festered over the past four decades and channelled towards the Barisan Nasional (BN) government, largely due to allegations that the ruling pact has been discreetly handing out citizenships to these foreigners in exchange for their votes.

    Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the country’s longest-serving prime minister who ruled from 1981 to 2003, has even been repeatedly accused of spearheading the initiative, known as “Projek M” or “Projek IC”.

    Sabah has nearly a million registered voters ― 926,638, to be exact, according to a June report in English-language daily The Star.

    Recognising the political significance of the problem, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak recently agreed to form the RCI to solve Sabah’s illegals problem.

    On August 11 last year, Najib made a special trip to Sabah and announced that the panel would be given six months to investigate allegations that foreigners have been unlawfully awarded Malaysian identity cards (ICs) and included in the state’s electoral roll.

    But according to the eight-point terms of reference, the panel will not identify the culprit behind the allegedly unlawful award of citizenships to foreigners, recommend any punishment or determine the reasons behind the award.

    The opposition has also accused the government, largely Dr Mahathir, of arbitrarily distributing Malaysian ICs to foreigners and registering them as voters in the electoral roll, allegedly to help BN stay in power.

    The panel’s terms are:

    1. To investigate the number of foreigners in Sabah given blue Malaysian ICs or citizenship;
    2. To investigate if the award of such ICs or citizenship were according to the law;
    3. To investigate if those given blue ICs, temporary identification receipts or citizenship through unlawful means have been registered in Sabah’s electoral roll;
    4. To investigate if the authorities have taken any action or made improvements to standard operating procedures (SOPs), methods and regulations to prevent any irregularities in accordance with the law;
    5. To conduct a deeper probe into the SOPs, methods and regulations on the award of blue ICs or citizenships to foreigners in Sabah by taking into consideration international norms and standards that are applicable to Malaysia, and to recommend amendments or changes to improve current practices;
    6. To investigate the reasons behind Sabah’s population growth according to the following categories:
    a) Sabah citizens residing in the state, including those given blue ICs or citizenship through birth certificates (late registration);
    b) foreign workers (including family members);
    c) illegal immigrants (including family members); and
    d) fugitives
    and to study their impact on the number of those registered in the electoral roll;
    7. To investigate the social implications on the Sabah community following the award of blue ICs or citizenship to foreigners in the state; and
    To investigate the number of “stateless” foreigners in Sabah given blue ICs or citizenship.
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    Special division dealt with refugees until 1985, Sabah RCI told


    January 14, 2013
    KOTA KINABALU, Jan 14 — The Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on Illegal Immigrants in Sabah was told today that the government set up a Settlement Division in the Chief Minister’s Department in 1976 to deal with Filipino refugees in the state.

    Abdul Jaapar Alip who testified as the third witness, said he headed the unit from 1983 until 2008.

    He said the government set up five settlement schemes for Filipino refugees in 1985, located at Kampung Telipok and Kampung Kinarut in Kota Kinabalu, Kampung Bahagia in Sandakan, Kampung Selamat in Semporna and Kampung Hidayah in Tawau.

    “To be accepted into the settlement, the refugees must fulfil five conditions. They must be from the southern Philippines, were directly affected by the civil war in the area, had arrived in Sabah between 1970 and 1984, were Muslims, and were willing to reside permanently in the state.

    Abdul Jaapar, 58, who has since retired, said the settlements exist until today.

    He said from 1976 to 1985, Muslim and non-Muslim (displaced) refugees had to register with the Chief Minister’s Department.

    Explaining the acceptance process, the witness said the refugees would first be interviewed and if they qualified to be categorised as refugees, the unit would apply to the Immigration Department for temporary visit/work passes, now known as IMM13, for them.

    “A registration receipt with a photograph and serial number would be issued to each of them,” he said.

    However, the witness said that in September 1985, the state government which was then under Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS), ordered the registration of refugees to cease and he was not aware of the reason.

    Malaysian history expert Prof Datuk Ramlah Adam, in her testimony as the first witness, said the Filipinos came to Sabah because of various factors, among them, genealogical and religious similarities, for employment and also because they shared the same ocean.

    “I believe this unwritten and unexpressed relationship existed in the name of religion, brotherhood and ancestry,” she said.

    Ramlah, a former lecturer at Universiti Malaya who had written numerous books and conducted research on history, when asked by conducting officer Manoj Kurup to offer a suggestion to resolve the issue of illegal immigrants in Sabah, said all parties must view it as a national issue and not a political issue.

    “Any party that looks at it as a political issue is not sincere in wanting to resolve it,” she said.

    The second witness, Prof Emeritus Dr Ranjit Singh, another history expert, testified on Sabah’s ethnic history.

    However, as soon as the third witness completed his testimony, former chief judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Steve Shim Lip Kiong who chaired the five-member RCI panel, asked everyone present to immediately leave the court building.

    The police had ordered everyone to leave the courthouse after receiving a bomb threat which turned out to be a hoax.

    The hearing continues tomorrow. — Bernama
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    Over 446,000 deported from Sabah, RCI told


    UPDATED @ 01:43:05 PM 15-01-2013
    By Boo Su-Lyn
    January 15, 2013
    File photo of illegal houses built by the seafront in Kota Kinabalu.


    KOTA KINABALU, Jan 15 — A total of 446,173 immigrants have been deported from Sabah from 1990 till now, the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on illegal immigrants heard today.Federal Special Taskforce for Sabah and Labuan director Datuk Suhaimi Mohd Salleh also said today that there were 300,393 foreigners in Sabah and Labuan in 1990, comprising illegal immigrants, foreign workers and refugees.

    “Our 2007 census on all settlements showed that there were 59,237 (Filipino refugees),” Suhaimi told the RCI here.

    “In 2011, our census in 16 (out of 32) settlements showed 38,158 (refugees),” he said.

    Suhaimi said that there was not enough time or manpower to complete the 2011 census in the remaining 16 settlements in Sabah and Labuan.

    RCI chairman Tan Sri Steve Shim Lip Kiong pointed out that the federal taskforce was allocated RM72 million.

    “It was sufficient for our first census. But (that money) is for all our operations, including the cost of deportation, arrests, and food and drinks, not just for the census,” said Suhaimi.

    He told a full courtroom today that the federal taskforce was still deporting undocumented refugees.

    “The newer refugees (after the Seventies) who have no reason to seek refuge aside from the conflict in south Philippines, and who have no documents, were handed over to the Immigration (Department),” he said.

    Suhaimi stressed that the federal taskforce had never given identity cards to foreigners, but only census certificates.

    Moktar Yassin Ajam, secretary of Internal Affairs and Research in the Chief Minister’s Department, earlier today said there were 33,019 Filipino refugees in Sabah in 2010 without IMM13 documents.

    He said the 73,000 figure given by former Chief Minister’s Department’s Settlement Unit head Abdul Jaafar Alip yesterday referred to Filipino refugees who possessed IMM13 documents, which are special immigration passes that allow refugees registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) freedom of movement and employment here.

    “The 73,000 refers to those registered at settlement units from 1976 to 1985,” said Moktar.

    “The 33,000 figure refers to the census at settlement units between 2007 and 2010, where we were of the opinion that there were refugees who did not have the IMM13 documents. This includes their children,” he added.

    The bespectacled man said that out of 33,019 refugees without IMM13 documents, 15,000 were children.

    “They are the third and fourth generations from Filipino refugees who came in the early ‘70s,” said Moktar.

    He added that the Immigration Department stopped issuing IMM13 documents since 2005.

    The inquiry resumes in the afternoon.
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    Ex-Sabah CM Harris denies ‘Project IC’


    UPDATED @ 05:52:56 PM 15-01-2013
    By Boo Su-Lyn
    January 15, 2013
    Harris says there is ‘no such thing as Project IC’. — Picture by Boo Su-Lyn


    KOTA KINABALU, Jan 15 — Former Sabah Chief Minister Tan Sri Harris Salleh denied today the existence of “Project IC”, where citizenship was allegedly given to immigrants for votes.Harris, who administered Sabah from 1976 to 1985, stressed to the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on illegal immigrants here that he had no authority to give blue identity cards to immigrants.

    “As far as I know, officially or unofficially, there’s no ‘Project IC’,” Harris told the RCI.

    Asked why immigrants in Sabah seemed to be getting citizenship faster than other people, he said: “The final authority is not with the state government. It’s with the federal government. That question should be posed to the federal government.”

    Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the country’s longest-serving prime minister who ruled from 1981 to 2003, has been repeatedly accused of spearheading “Project IC”.

    Harris also said that the Sabah state government had no authority to issue permanent residency to immigrants.

    “Absolutely, the authority is with the federal government. The state government has no authority. We only assisted the individuals to fill the forms,” said the former Berjaya Party president.
    Harris noted that former Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman had said in the 1970s that Muslim refugees could stay in Malaysia, while non-Muslims could go to Australia, Europe or the United States.

    “Among the policies adopted by the federal government was to grant citizenships to refugees in accordance with the United Nations charter,” said Harris.

    “Based on these policies and as claimed by YAB Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, former prime minister, it can be concluded that thousands of refugees and Indonesians were accorded citizenships in accordance with the Malaysian constitution,” added the sixth chief minister of Sabah.

    Harris also said that the federal government had never informed his administration of the number of immigrants in Sabah that were given blue identity cards.

    The greying former politician added that refugees were welcomed in the 1970s to accommodate the boom in the agricultural and construction industries in Sabah then.

    “We were concerned if we don’t settle them, we can never improve Sabah...Filipinos are good construction workers,” he said.

    Sabah has 926,638 registered voters, according to a June report in English-language daily, The Star.

    The five-member panel inquiry, which is chaired by former chief judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Steve Shim Lip Kiong, resumes tomorrow.
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    Foreigners total 28pc of Sabah population, RCI told


    By Boo Su-Lyn
    January 15, 2013
    A view of illegal houses built on the seafront in Kota Kinabalu. — file pic


    KOTA KINABALU, Jan 15 — More than a quarter of Sabah’s population are foreigners, a statistician told the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on illegal immigrants here today.Sabah Department of Statistics director Norezan Wahid said today that there were 889,000 foreigners out of a 3.2 million-strong population in Sabah, about 28 per cent, based on a 2010 census.

    “We don’t specify whether they are legal or non-legal,” said Norezan at the RCI today.

    He added that census-takers did not have the authority to ask people to show documents proving that they were citizens.

    “In the census, we ask two questions, whether you are a citizen or not,” he said.

    National Registration Department (NRD) deputy director of the citizenship division, Nik Norashikin Nik Mansur, said that 66,682 people in Sabah received Malaysian citizenship from 1964 to October 2012.

    She added that 38,000 were from Malaysia, 13,000 from China, 7,000 from Indonesia, while the rest were from the Philippines, Hong Kong and other countries.

    “Why Malaysia is the highest number is because they were born in Malaysia and they don’t have any other country of origin. So, their country of origin is stated as Malaysia,” said Nik Norashikin.

    Nik Norashikin, who wore a purple headscarf, said that the home minister was the final authority when it came to issuing citizenship.

    She added that citizenship certificates were kept in the record management centre in the NRD.

    “We have records in the system, but they are incomplete as they are from 2003 till now. The ones before that are in physical form and are still being keyed into the system,” she said.

    The inquiry, which is chaired by former chief judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Steve Shim Lip Kiong, resumes tomorrow.
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    EC ordered NRD to give ICs, change immigrants’ names, RCI told

    This is treason and shows why the political leaders and the UMNO War Machine cannot be trusted.

    By Boo Su-Lyn
    January 16, 2013
    The RCI was yesterday told that foreigners accounted for 28 per cent of Sabah’s populace. — File pic


    KOTA KINABALU, Jan 16 — The Election Commission (EC) had instructed the National Registration Department (NRD) to change the names of 16,000 immigrants in Sabah and to give them identity cards, the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on illegal immigrants heard today.

    Former Sabah NRD deputy director Mohd Nasir Sugip, who worked in Sabah NRD from 1992 to 1994, told the RCI today that the then-Sabah EC director, Datuk Wan Ahmad, had ordered Sabah NRD to change the names of Indonesian and Filipino immigrants to increase the number of Muslim voters in Sabah.

    Wan Ahmad’s full name was not given.


    “Ops Durian Buruk (Spoilt Durian) is an operation that involves changing and creating new names from the names given by SPR,” said Nasir at the RCI here today, referring to the EC by its Malay acronym.

    “It means that the names were changed, IC numbers were changed, date of birth was changed... and their pictures,” he added.

    Nasir said he was detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) from 1995 to 1998 for giving identity cards to unqualified immigrants.

    Nasir added that 800 names had been handed to the Sugut state and the Kinabatangan parliamentary constituencies.

    “As far as I remember, the results of the elections favoured Barisan Nasional (BN), YB Datuk Surady Kayong,” he said.

    BN candidate Surady had defeated Parti Bersatu Sabah’s (PBS) Jublee KK Zen in Sugut during the 1994 general election with a paper-thin margin of 79 votes.

    Surady is currently the assistant minister of local government and housing in Sabah.

    But Nasir denied receiving bribes for his role in the exercise.

    “I just followed instructions... and I signed a pledge with my director,” he said.

    Asked if there was a pact between the EC and the NRD to increase the number of voters in Sabah, he said: “There was some co-operation and collaboration between [the NRD] and [EC] in this kind of exercise.”

    Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia’s longest-serving prime minister who was in power from 1981 to 2003, has been accused of spearheading the so-called “Project IC”, in which citizenships were allegedly given to immigrants for their votes.

    But former Sabah Chief Minister Tan Sri Harris Salleh, who administered the state from 1976 to 1985, denied yesterday the existence of “Project IC”.
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    Ex-NRD man: EC made us issue ICs to immigrants





    • 2:14PM Jan 16, 2013


    A former Sabah National Registration Department (NRD) officer has provided the clearest proof yet that there was indeed a concerted effort by the authorities to alter Sabah's electoral demographics in the 1990s.

    Testifying before the royal commission of inquiry (RCI) on Sabah's immigration problems today, Mohd Nasir Sugip said his department had once taken instructions from the state Election Commission (EC) to provide unqualified immigrants with identity card numbers so that they could vote in the election.

    Mohd Nasir, who was once detained under the Internal Security Act, said the clandestine scheme was dubbed 'Ops Durian Buruk' and ran from 1992 to 1995.

    "At that time, Sabah SPR director Wan Ahmad (Wan Yusof, left) handed over a list of 16,000 names to be made into 'bumiputera Islam' voters.

    "My boss, Sabah NRD director Ramli Kamarudin, then verbally told me to execute this project," he said.

    Mohd Nasir also implicated three other individuals who were present when the instruction was issued.

    However, their names could not be obtained as the RCI conducting officers - representatives of the Attorney-General's Chambers - were not forthcoming.

    'It worked, BN won'

    Mohd Nasir said he followed the instructions given to him and recruited other unnamed officers at the district level for this operation.


    He said the operation involved providing the immigrants with new identity card numbers based on the date of birth, photographs and names provided by the EC.


    "The list consisted of Filipinos and Indonesians who were Muslim and aged above 21 years," he said, adding that they were mostly from Sandakan, Tawau, Sempoerna and other parts of Sabah.


    These individuals are then planted as voters across Sabah with the objective of boosting the number of Muslim voters in the state.


    "An example is in the state assembly seat of Sugut and the parliamentary seat of Kinabatangan.


    "We planted about 800 voters in Sugut and in the next general election, the result was in favour of BN. The candidate won by 79 votes," he said.


    Mohd Nasir said he did not receive any gratification for taking part in the operation. He was only following instructions, and for this he was detained under the Internal Security Act, for three years from May 30, 1995.

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    Megat Junid implicated in Sabah IC scam

    In light of this, how can temporary IC receipts be trusted?




    Former Sabah National Registation Department director Ramli Kamaruddin claimed he embarked on recruiting phantom voters after personally receiving instructions from then-deputy home minister Megat Junid Megat Ayub.

    Testifying at the royal commission of inquiry (RCI) on immigrants in Sabah today, Ramli claimed he was instructed to issue an identity card (IC) receipt to immigrants using the details of people who are already in the electoral roll but had never voted before.

    “I received a call two weeks before the 1994 Sabah state election to meet Megat Junid at a hotel. I was instructed to help to ensure a state government endorsed by the federal government would win.

    I was instructed to issue NRD receipts using the name and IC number of voters already in the electoral roll with the sole purpose of allowing them to vote
    ,” he said.

    NRD receipts are temporary identity card slips that are issued prior to the granting of a proper identity card. This document is sufficient to allow for voting, he explained.
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    100,000 ICs given to immigrants in 1993, RCI told


    UPDATED @ 06:49:13 PM 16-01-2013
    By Boo Su-Lyn
    January 16, 2013
    A boy operates a boat in front of illegal houses built on the seafront in Kota Kinabalu. — file pic


    KOTA KINABALU, Jan 16 — About 100,000 blue identity cards were given to immigrants in Sabah in 1993, a former National Registration Department (NRD) officer told the Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on illegal immigrants today.Sabah NRD assistant registrar Kee Dzulkifly Kee Abd Jalil said today that he had received RM80,000 from then Sabah NRD director Ramli Kamarudin for issuing the identity cards to Filipino, Indonesian and Pakistani immigrants in Sabah.

    “My department chief said there was a letter from the (Sabah) chief minister, Tan Sri Harris Salleh. My department chief told me to give identity cards to people who applied for them at the counter,” Kee Dzulkifly told the RCI here today.

    Kee Dzulkifly said he was detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) from 1995 to 1999.

    Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia’s longest-serving prime minister who was in power from 1981 to 2003, has been accused of spearheading the so-called “Project IC”, in which citizenships were allegedly given to immigrants for their votes.

    But former Sabah Chief Minister Tan Sri Harris Salleh, who administered the state from 1976 to 1985, denied yesterday the existence of “Project IC”.

    Dzulkifly also said today that more than 100,000 birth certificates were issued to immigrants in the early 1990s.

    Ramli testified earlier today that the late Tan Sri Megat Junid Megat Ayub, who was then the deputy home affairs minister, had ordered him to issue NRD receipts enabling illegal immigrants to vote in the 1994 state election.
    Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) won just 25 out of 48 state assembly seats in the 1994 state election.

    But several PBS MPs defected to Barisan Nasional (BN) shortly after, causing the collapse of the PBS government.

    Akop Damsah, who was then the head of the NRD Tamparuli office in Sabah, testified today that he had signed hundreds of thousands of identity cards for immigrants in Sabah in the early 1990s.

    Akop added that he and some other NRD officers were sent to Kuala Lumpur to sign identity cards for mostly Filipino and Indonesian immigrants in Sabah, but did not specify when.

    “We were placed at (Tan Sri) Aziz Shamsuddin’s house,” he said, referring to Dr Mahathir’s then political secretary.

    Asked why the identity cards were signed, Akop said: “They briefed us that the goal was to increase Muslim voters in Sabah and to oust PBS.”

    “(The identity cards were issued) to vote for Umno in the election,” he added.

    Akop said he was detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA) in 1996.

    He added that he knew that his actions were illegal.

    “Verbally, there were guarantees that we would be protected at that time. Protected from the law,” he said.

    About 28 per cent of Sabah’s 3.2 million-strong population are foreigners, numbering at 889,000, based on a 2010 census.

    The inquiry before former chief judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri Steve Shim Lip Kiong resumes tomorrow.
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